Design, Construction and Renovation
Fifty-five million Americans (53 million children) spend their days in approximately 118,000 public and private primary and secondary schools. In order to reduce overcrowding, account for class size reduction mandates and keep pace with surging population growth, 6000 new schools will need to be built by 2007. To meet these demands, school districts will spend billions of dollars to build or renovate schools. How these schools are designed will affect the quality of the buildings, decades of operational expenses, and, most importantly, the health and productivity of generations of students and staff. High performance school buildings take advantage of integrated design strategies and existing building technologies. High performance or sustainable schools can be sited to take advantage of climatic conditions; enhance indoor environmental quality; conserve energy and make use of renewable resources; protect and conserve water; use resource-efficient materials; minimize construction waste; and optimize maintenance and operations.
For more information on Design, Construction and Renovation, visit:
Indoor Air Quality Design Tools for Schools
Indoor air quality is a critically important aspect of creating and maintaining healthy school facilities. IAQ Design Tools for Schools will help school districts find the information resources they need to design, construct and renovate school facilities that will support the schools core mission of educating children.
Featured Design, Construction and Renovation Resources:
EPA School Siting Guidelines
EPA's voluntary school siting guidelines can help local school districts (local education agencies or LEAs) and community members evaluate environmental factors to make the best possible school siting decisions. This website includes an overview for the guidelines, as well as links to resources and additional information.
Source: EPA - Office of Children's Health Protection
Healthy School Environments Assessment Tool (HealthySEAT)
HealthySEAT is a new software tool from EPA designed to help school districts conduct voluntary, customized self-assessments of their school facilities for environmental, health, and safety hazards.
Source: EPA - Office of Air and Radiation - Indoor Environments Division
Lead in Paint, Dust, and Soil
This page provides information on hazards associated with lead, training, brochures, and links to regional sources.
Source: EPA - National Lead Information Center
National Integrated Pest Management in Schools Web Site
Contains Integrated Pest Management information specific to schools. See listing under Integrated Pest Management tools.
Source: EPA - University of Florida
PCBs in Building Caulk
In recent years, EPA has learned that caulk containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) was used in some buildings, including schools, in the 1950s through the 1970s. Buildings built after 1980 are less likely to contain caulk that contains PCBs.
Caulk is a flexible material used to seal gaps to make windows, masonry and joints in buildings and other structures watertight or airtight. EPA does not have information on the extent of the use of PCB-containing caulk or whether it was primarily used in certain geographic areas. To date it has been found in buildings in the northeastern United States and in joints in concrete water storage basins in the western United States.
Source: EPA - Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics
Smart Growth and Schools
Over the next few decades, thousands of schools around the country will be built and renovated. Where and how schools are built will profoundly affect the communities they serve and the quality of their air and water. While a first-rate education in a safe facility must always be the primary consideration when making school spending decisions, a growing number of communities are using these investments to meet multiple goals -- educational, health, environmental, economic, social, and fiscal.
Source: EPA -- Office of Policy, Economics and Innovation
California Portable Classrooms Study
The Air Resources Board (ARB) and Department of Health Services (DHS) completed a comprehensive study of the environmental health conditions in portable (relocatable) classrooms. This study investigated classrooms in kindergarten through 12th grade public schools and included a large representative sample.
Source: California Air Resources Board
Collaborative for High Performance Schools
The Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) aims to increase the energy efficiency of public schools in California by marketing information, service, and incentive programs directly to school districts and designers. The Collaborative's goal is to facilitate the design of high performance schools: environments that are not only energy efficient, but also healthy, comfortable, well lit, and contain the amenities needed for a quality education.
Source: Collaborative for High Performance Schools
Energy Star for Schools
Through the Energy Star program, EPA partners with K-12 school districts, colleges, and universities across the country, providing technical support, guidance on financing options, and recognition for schools wanting to use energy more efficiently. Energy Star has coordinated with EPA's Indoor Air Quality program to address the overlap between energy efficiency upgrades and indoor environmental quality, and it has launched an energy performance rating tool in schools.
Source: EPA - Energy Star
Environmental Compliance and Best Management Practices Guidance Manual
This comprehensive environmental manual is available on-line in both English and Spanish.
Source: EPA - Region 2
Greening America's Schools: Costs and Benefits
This report is intended to answer this fundamental question: how
much more do green schools cost, and is greening schools cost
Source: Capital E
High Performance School Design Online Training
Interactive courses on this site are offered free of charge as a public benefit for design and engineering professionals specializing in sustainable design for K-12 schools. High performance school design integrates daylighting, indoor air quality, and energy efficiency to build a school that runs efficiently, saves money, protects natural resources, and provides superior visual, acoustical, and thermal comfort.
Source: New York State Energy Research and Development Authority
IPM Standards for Schools
Web site contains information about Integrated Pest Management in schools, including administrative planning and policy guidance, and landscape and pest-specific information. The home page for the site contains a description of the Institute's certification program; a list of upcoming Integrated Pest Management events; and an extensive page of Integrated Pest Management links.
Source: IPM Institute of North America, Inc. -
Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools Walkthrough Video Assessment
This is a streaming-video module directed towards schools in city environments. The purpose is to help people identify potential indoor air quality problems and how to correct them. Based on EPA's Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools Program.
Source: Rutgers University
LEED for Schools
The LEED for Schools Rating System recognizes the unique nature of the design and construction of K-12 schools. Based on the LEED for New Construction rating system, it addresses issues such as classroom acoustics, master planning, mold prevention and environmental site assessment.
Source: U.S. Green Building Council
Managing Your Environmental Responsibilities: A Planning Guide for Construction and Development
EPA guidance manual that provides the construction industry comprehensive environmental information.
Source: EPA -- Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance
Portables Tool Kit: A toolkit for parents and school administrators for successful use of portable classrooms.
The Modular Building Institute (MBI) has created its own toolkit of materials that are available to any school district purchaser or facility administrator to help them secure and maintain facilities that provide an optimum learning environment.
Source: Modular Building Institute
Reducing Pesticide Exposure at Schools
This September 2007 publication from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and health explains how exposures and potential health risks to children and school staff can be reduced by avoiding routine pesticide applications through an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program.
Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Sustainable Sites Initiative
The Sustainable Sites Initiative™ (SITES™) is an interdisciplinary effort by the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin and the United States Botanic Garden to create voluntary national guidelines and performance benchmarks for sustainable land design, construction and maintenance practices.
Source: Sustainable Sites Initiative
Whole Building Design Guide
The WBDG provides government and industry practitioners with one-stop access up-to-date information on a wide range of building-related guidance, criteria and technology from a whole buildings' perspective.
Source: National Institute of Building Sciences -- Whole Building Design Guide
California - Los Angeles Unified School District Product Review Database
Searchable database of over 5,000 products evaluated by the LAUSD Office of Environmental Health and Safety to determine their suitability for use in and around Los Angeles schools.
Source: Los Angeles Unified School District - Office of Environmental Health & Safety
NCEF Resource List: Cleaning and Maintenance Practices
NCEF's resource list of links, books, and journal articles on custodial standards and procedures, equipment, safety, and product directories for the cleaning and maintenance of schools and colleges.
Source: National Institute of Building Sciences - National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities
New York State Department of Education Office of Facilities Planning
Contains a wide range of resources on environmental and occupational safety and health issues affecting school facilities.
Source: New York State Education Department - Office of Facilities Planning
An introduction to toxic chemicals and environmental health risks you might encounter in everyday life, in everyday places, including schools.
Source: National Institutes of Health - National Library of Medicine
Chem Info Net
The Chem Info Net designed as a chemical health and safety resource for teachers, administrators, and service personnel. The site is an ongoing project and information will be added on a regular basis. The initial focus is on laboratory safety and chemicals used in the science curriculum. The information presented is based on current regulations and prudent practices. Local regulations may differ from National Standards. Please consult local and state agencies if standards or procedures are unclear.
Source: Maine School of Science and Mathematics - (aka Limestone Community School)
Florida Department of Education (DoEd) Safety and Environment Information
Florida DoEd's Bureau of Educational Facilities provides basic technical support for facilities on the responsibilities and concerns of public school boards and community colleges throughout Florida. This website includes links to expert staff personnel and a variety of schools-oriented publications, codes, guidelines and resources.
Source: Florida Department of Education - Office of Chief Financial Officer/Division of Support Services/Bureau of Educational Facilities
Kentucky Green and Healthy Schools
The Kentucky Green and Healthy Schools (KGHS) Program is a new, voluntary effort to empower students and staff with the tools needed to take action and make their school operate at peak efficiency.
Source: Kentucky Green and Healthy Schools
Maine Department of Education Facilities Management Template
Includes a draft ME School Facilities Maintenance Plan including checklists for Maintenance, Operations, Grounds, Custodial, and Vehicle Services
Source: Maine Department of Education
New England Resources for Schools
This website provides links to the Regional schools topics page, hazardous waste fact sheets, examples of the types of environmental issues found in schools, and other links of interest to the schools community.
Source: EPA Region 1
New Hampshire Partnership for High Performance Schools
A high performance school is "one in which all of its systems function in an efficient and synergistic fashion" and such a school provides "a healthy, comfortable environment that facilitates learning, saves money and helps to protect the environment." This website promotes an initiative by the Jordan Institute to promote high performance schools.
Source: The Jordan Institute
New York State Guidelines for Green Cleaning Products
Guidelines and specifications for the procurement and use of environmentally sensitive cleaning and maintenance products for all public and nonpublic elementary and secondary schools in New York State.
Source: New York State Office of General Services - Environmental Services Unit
Florida School Plant Management Association (FSPMA)
A state-based organization established in 1960 to promote the development of non-instructional services required for education and to develop working relationships between school administrators, managers, non-instructional, and instructional personnel. This website includes specifications for paint, carpet, and chemicals for use by Florida school systems.
Source: Florida School Plant Management Association
Colleges and Universities in New England
Colleges and universities grapple with a myriad of environmental issues in order to protect the health of their communities and comply with the law, both on and off campus.To improve C/Us' overall environmental compliance, EPA-NE has launched a coordinated enforcement/compliance assistance effort aimed at reaching all of New England's colleges and universities.
Source: EPA Region 1